It takes talent to write a song. It takes an even greater talent to tell a story so compelling it has the ability to touch someone down to their core. That is the hallmark of a great songwriter.
Mike Dekle or Uncle Mike; to those enough lucky enough to know him, has this rare talent. Every song of his that I have listened to has kept me focused on the story and I haven’t found one yet that I haven’t liked.
In 1983, Kenny Rogers released a song written by Mike Dekle, “Scarlet Fever”. The song peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Country Music charts and Dekle has had a hit every decade since. When asked about his initial reaction to finding out that Rogers wanted to cut the song, He says, “I was totally overwhelmed...so excited, so grateful to him. So relieved... that my doubts of me being a songwriter were excused by Kenny Rogers and “Scarlet Fever.”The track tells the story of a man who becomes mesmerized by a young woman who dances at a night club and it leaves you wondering, “What ever happened to young Scarlet?” When a song leaves you asking questions, you know it’s a great song. So in a sense as a listener to the song, I too have “Scarlet Fever”.
Dekle has written for, and with top country artists. One of those artists is fellow Georgia native, Brantley Gilbert. Gilbert recently released his single, “One Hell Of An Amen”, a song that Dekle wrote with Gilbert and fellow song-writer, Brian Davis. The song currently sits in the Top 40 on the country music charts, and is well on its way to possibly being Gilbert’s next number one. Brantley Gilbert and Mike Dekle have been writing together for many years. “Country Must Be Country Wide”, was a song that sent Gilbert’s career soaring into the mainstream and has since reached platinum status. Mike says, "This song holds a special meaning to all of the writers. I’ve been touched deep in my heart by the volume of people reacting to “One Hell of an Amen” so positively or how it’s helped them cope with life’s bad deals!”
In turn, Gilbert spoke on writing with Dekle saying, “I consider the man family. Because he's always treated me like family. Gilbert continues, “ONE of many things that stands out is that when those two things... writing and living, go hand in hand, you just might write something that matters. Something that punches you in the chest, and touches the hearts of other folks too. I feel that way about One Hell of an Amen, and I think my bro Brian Davis would agree. There's no one else we would've wanted to write that song with, and I can say that about many others that Mike and I have written... I have more love and respect for him than he knows, and I'm excited to hear what we write next!”
“One Hell Of An Amen” speaks volumes to those who have either lost someone to cancer or lost someone overseas. More than that, it is hope and strength. Again, the stuff of life. There is an immediate connection between the listener and the songwriters.
Dekle has written with many artists and what he can tell you of his process with writing with younger artists is “ I just listen, I listen to their thought processes. The younger writers and artists I’ve been able to work with have taught me the value of 50/50 when you accept a writing appointment, [and] their opinions are valued.”
One of the younger artists that he has worked with is singer-songwriter Rachel Farley. She speaks very highly of Dekle. “ Mike Dekle is no doubt one of the most special people I have ever encountered. Not only is he an exceptional and authentic songwriter, but all of us lucky enough to love him call him family. Uncle Mike continuously teaches and reteaches me to not only write from my heart, but to live from my heart. Country music comes to life through the mind and voice of Mike Dekle and all of us "kids" who have been taken under his wing are intently taking notes.”
They wrote a song together called, “Dancing With The Devil” and it gave me literal goose bumps while I was listening to it. Hearing the passion in Farley’s voice while listening to the raw emotion of the lyrics, draws you in. It's heart wrenching.
I asked Dekle what’s his advice for aspiring song writers and his response was, “Pay Close attention to what’s being PLAYED on the RADIO if you want to get a song recorded. YOU MUST HAVE a BURNING DESIRE deep inside of you to STAY THE COURSE. Keep Dreaming ... Keep Writing ... Don’t ever give Up. After you’ve written your song ... Re-Write it if you must. Keep looking for a word(s) that will make it better. I’ve always said that writing is re-writing. I wrote for nine years straight as an “all the time songwriter “... hundreds of songs before Scarlet Fever came to me. Oh did I say ...NEVER GIVE UP ...” “Keep Dreaming.... Keep Writing .... Don’t ever give up...”
These words ring true to anyone who has goals in life they want to achieve. I feel like everyone can learn something from this amazing song writer. It’s kind of ironic he wrote a song about “Scarlet Fever” and be careful you don’t catch that Scarlet Fever, but after looking deeper into his music... I have the fever. I look forward to hearing all the stories Mike Dekle has to tell.You will too.
You can purchase Mike Dekle’s latest record, “TUNESMITH” and his other records on his website.
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Until next time, this is Ish... “Are You Tuned In?”